Family childcare

How to Use this List

  1. Go through each item on the list.
  2. Check off the things you already do.
  3. Don’t worry if you can’t check off everything!
  4. Use the items you DO NOT check off to create an action plan for improvement.

Furniture and Space


  • ___ Enough beds, tables, and chairs for all children to eat and sleep comfortably.
  • ___ Furnishings are safe and in good repair.
  • ___ Children have a place to store their own things.
  • ___ Some furniture is used for play activities.
  • ___ High chairs or adult chairs with cushions are used while eating or doing other activities such as painting.
  • ___ Sheets are changed at least weekly.
  • ___ Tables are cleaned after meals and other use.
  • ___ Some furniture is child-sized (such as a small table and chairs).
  • ___ Furniture does not crowd the child care space.
  • ___ There are several child-sized play furnishings, such as a play stove or easel.

Relaxation and Comfort

  • ___ Cribs or cots are available for children to sleep in.
  • ___ Soft cushions are available.
  • ___ Children are allowed to use at least one piece of furniture, such as a soft chair or couch, in the child care area.
  • ___ There is a carpeted area for children’s use.
  • ___ Many soft toys are available to children.
  • ___ Adult holds and rocks infants and toddlers from time to time.
  • ___ Soft, child-sized furnishings are provided, such as cushions, beanbags, child-sized rockers and chairs, or a padded high chair.

Arranging Indoor Space

  • ___ A crawling space for infants is provided.
  • ___ There is a play space for toddlers and preschoolers.
  • ___ Play spaces are free of breakable objects and other “no-no’s” so children can play with few restrictions.
  • ___ Space has good light, ventilation, and temperature.
  • ___ Space isn’t crowded with furniture.
  • ___ Traffic patterns don’t interfere with activities.
  • ___ Materials with a similar use are placed together.
  • ___ At least two play areas are set aside for specific activities, such as doll play, building blocks, art, or reading.
  • ___ Enough storage and space is provided in each play area (for example, for block play there is a box for storing blocks located near an open space on the floor).
  • ___ Space is set up so children of different ages can use it at the same time.
  • ___ Materials in play area are labeled and organized so that children can use them on their own.
  • ___ Additional materials are available to add to or change the play areas.


  • ___ There is a phone in the home.
  • ___ Transportation is available in case of emergency.
  • ___ First aid supplies are well stocked and ready to use.
  • ___ Emergency numbers are posted near the phone.
  • ___ The home has passed official fire safety inspection.
  • ___ Hot water is managed safely.
  • ___ No obvious safety problems indoors or outdoors: medicines are in a locked cabinet, cleaning supplies are out of reach, toys and objects small enough to be swallowed are kept away from infants and toddlers, etc.
  • ___ A backup caregiver is available for emergencies.
  • ___ The backup caregiver is familiar with the children and the activities at the home and knows the emergency plans.
  • ___ Emergency exit plans are posted and practiced at least monthly with children.
  • ___ Caregiver uses car safety restraints for all: safety seats for infants and toddlers and separate seat belts for each older child and adult.
  • ___ Caregiver has had first aid training, including CPR for children, within the last two years.
  • ___ Caregiver teaches children about safety, including pedestrian safety.

Active Physical Play

  • ___ Safe outdoor play for all ages provided at least three times per week.
  • ___ Clean, safe indoor space provided for infants and toddlers to crawl and walk around much of the day.
  • ___ Outdoor and indoor play is closely supervised.
  • ___ Play things and equipment are in good repair.
  • ___ Outdoor space is used by children for 1-3 hours daily year-round, except in bad weather.
  • ___ Physical activity provided indoors for all ages in bad weather.
  • ___ Play things and equipment exercise a variety of muscle skills, such as crawling, walking, balancing, climbing, swinging, and playing ball.
  • ___ Toys and equipment are provided for each age group.
  • ___ Toys for toddlers and preschoolers offer imaginative play.
  • ___ A new physical challenge is added each week through planned activity, such as an obstacle course, a tunnel, or a ball game.


  • ___ Caregiver is focused on children.
  • ___ Attention is paid to safety, cleanliness, and proper use of materials.
  • ___ Caregiver’s work or interests do not take away from care giving (for example, work is done while children are asleep, or children have fun helping to set the table or hang up wash to dry).
  • ___ Caregiver interacts with children and enhances play with teaching
  • ___ Caregiver helps children solve conflicts when necessary.
  • ___ Supervision is suited to individual needs: the caregiver closely watches toddlers, but allows three and four year olds more independence.
  • ___ Activities are set up in a way that avoids conflicts: there are duplicate toys for toddlers, enough blocks for several children to play at once, etc.
  • ___ Caregiver looks for opportunities to extend learning from one activity to the next.

Interactions between Adults and Children

  • ___ Caregiver often smiles at, talks to, and listens to children.
  • ___ Caregiver uses physical contact, including gentle holding, hugging, and patting on the head, to give attention to children.
  • ___ Caregiver gives each child equal attention.
  • ___ Caregiver and children seem relaxed.
  • ___ Voices are cheerful and children smile often.
  • ___ Children and adults respect one another.
  • ___ Children and adults show one another kindness.
  • ___ Caregiver praises children for being kind and helpful to others.

Communicating With Children With Special Needs

  • ___ Care provider communicates equally with special needs child and other children.
  • ___ Caregiver adjusts his speech to each child’s level of understanding.
  • ___ Communication aids, such as a communication board or a hearing aid, are used when needed throughout the day.
  • ___ Caregiver communicates frequently with the special needs child.
  • ___ Caregiver actively encourages the child to communicate with the caregiver.
  • ___ Care provider encourages children to communicate with each other.
  • ___ Care provider praises or reinforces the child’s attempts to communicate.
  • ___ Caregiver extends language interaction with special needs children.
  • ___ Caregiver teaches children new ways to communicate with special needs children, such as by teaching other children to sign or by adding new communication board symbols.


  • ___ Child care areas are clean.
  • ___ Caregiver has emergency care and health information for each child, including contact information for the child’s parents, doctor, and dentist.
  • ___ Caregiver reports suspected child abuse.
  • ___ Caregiver has a yearly health exam.
  • ___ Caregiver cuts down on the spread of germs by wiping runny noses with clean tissues for each child and telling parents about illness in the day care home.
  • ___ Special health problems such as allergies, hearing loss, or hyperactivity are written down and the caregiver uses the information in planning activities.
  • ___ Caregiver remains alert to children’s health by checking irritable children for fever, etc.
  • ___ Rules are set up to govern attendance during an illness at a child’s home and parents are told about the rules.
  • ___ Medication is given only from the original container with written permission from parents.
  • ___ Caregiver has arranged for a medical consultant, such as a local doctor or nurse practitioner, to handle child care questions.
  • ___ A quiet area for sick children is available.
  • ___ Health information is provided for parents.
  • ___ Caregiver encourages good health habits through the use of nutrition activities, storybooks, etc.
  • ___ Caregiver is a living example of good health practices by eating healthy foods and refraining from smoking in front of children.


  • ___ Naps are scheduled daily.
  • ___ Naps are supervised.
  • ___ Napping area is quiet and well-ventilated.
  • ___ Each child has his own crib, cot or bed with clean sheets, blankets, etc.
  • ___ Naps are scheduled appropriately for different age groups.
  • ___ Children are placed at least two feet apart.
  • ___ Cuddly toys are available to help children relax.
  • ___ Soft, soothing music plays in the background during naps.
  • ___ Caregiver provides backrubs to children.
  • ___ Early risers and non-nappers are given separate activities.
  • ___ Napping schedules are changed to suit children as they grow.


  • ___ Diapers are checked and changed often.
  • ___ Caregiver treats toileting accidents as unintentional mishaps instead of punishable offenses.
  • ___ Diapering area is cleaned thoroughly after each use.
  • ___ Adults wash their hands with soap after changing diapers or helping children with toileting.
  • ___ Children’s hands are washed after using the toilet.
  • ___ Caregiver handles toileting accidents calmly.
  • ___ Diapering is done near a source of hot water.
  • ___ Toilets are child-sized (potty chairs for toddlers also work)
  • ___ Sinks are equipped with steps or are low enough for children to easily use.
  • ___ Caregiver works with parents to toilet train toddlers.
  • ___ Caregiver uses diapering as a time to warmly interact with children.
  • ___ Diapering and toileting are used to teach children self-help, cleanliness, and dressing skills (hand washing, using toilet paper, buttoning and snapping, etc.).

Personal Grooming

  • ___ Hands are washed before and after meals and after using the toilet.
  • ___ Each child has his own towel or washcloth (paper or cloth).
  • ___ A low sink or steps make it easy for children to reach the sink and wash their hands.
  • ___ Extra clothes are available to change children.
  • ___ Caregiver encourages children to care for themselves by placing a mirror at child’s eye level, towels within preschooler’s reach, providing aprons for art activities, etc.
  • ___ Bibs are used during meals for infants and toddlers.
  • ___ Teeth are brushed after meals.
  • ___ Each child has his own toothbrush.
  • ___ Children are cleaned up and hair is brushed after messy playing or napping.
  • ___ Personal care activities, such as singing a hand washing song or practicing hair brushing, are planned to teach self-help skills.

Planning Activities

  • ___ There is enough time for meals, naps, grooming, and changing diapers.
  • ___ Several activity periods, some indoors and some outdoors, are planned each day.
  • ___ Children are allowed to choose from a variety of play activities both morning and afternoon.
  • ___ The daily schedule provides a balance of active and quiet play.
  • ___ Caregiver uses routine activities to teach children new skills such as tooth brushing and correct hand washing.
  • ___ Caregiver creates smooth transitions from one activity to the next (for example, the caregiver sets out play materials for preschoolers before putting babies down for a nap).